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ICL players' fate hangs in balance

If ECB prevents ICL players from playing first-class or minor county cricket in England, most of them will have no other place to play, reports Amol Karhadkar.

cricket Updated: Aug 25, 2007 02:55 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Most of the 50-plus cricketers who have joined the Indian Cricket League (ICL) would be hoping that even if their respective boards ban them, they can still spend six months in the English county season.



Thus the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) stand on the ICL becomes crucial. If the ECB decides to disallow the ICL players from playing first-class or minor county cricket in England --- where almost half of Indian domestic cricketers participate every year --- most ICL players will have no other place to play.



"Should the ECB be approached directly to supply county players for the ICL, it will consider its stance on those players' eligibility for county cricket," James Avery, the ECB media manager, told

HT

.



South African Lance Klusener is one player whose fate could hang in balance --- the Northamptonshire man has already joined the ICL.



Meanwhile, the ICL, which has succeeded in roping in players from almost every major cricket-playing region except the United Kingdom, has finally hit the British shores. Ireland's wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O'Brien and Warwickshire all-rounder Neil Carter have confirmed that they have received offers.



But former England opener Mark Butcher has denied that he has been approached, after being reportedly linked with the ICL as a potential captain of one of their six teams.



Asked about the ECB's stand on the ICL, Avery opted to play safe but made it clear that the contracted players will not be available for the tournament.



"The ECB believes the players selected to play for England over the forthcoming winter will be too busy representing their country to consider playing in the Indian Cricket League," he said.



"The schedule for the forthcoming winter is already congested, amount of cricket is too extensive to add to any further."